The Business of Fashion Podcast
Tory Burch on Finding Purpose in Female Empowerment

Tory Burch on Finding Purpose in Female Empowerment

November 26, 2020

The American designer discusses the power of many businesses to be advocates for change.

 

The last few years have offered Tory Burch, founder of her namesake womenswear label, time to focus less on business and more on design, particularly since her husband Pierre-Yves Roussel took on the role of chief executive in 2018. Now, the pandemic is giving her even more time to focus on perfecting product, a rare silver lining of an otherwise challenging situation.
 
In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks speaks with Burch about her activist-focused approach to business and how the last 10 months have shaped her fashion label.
 
  • Restriction is a crucial component of creativity. To Burch, the travel restrictions and social distancing measures have opened new avenues of creativity, fostering agility and resourcefulness. “One thing that’s happened because of lockdown is it makes you stand still,” said Burch. “To be able to be in one place has been really transformative on many levels.”
  • Burch emphasises that what constitutes luxury needs to be reconsidered. “I really believe luxury isn’t about a price point, and I think that’s relatable particularly today,” she said. “How do you design beautiful things that are timeless and that will last? That’s what I’ve been thinking about,” she said, adding that having time to spend is the ultimate luxury.
  • Through the Tory Burch Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to advancing women’s empowerment, Burch is finding new avenues through which to support women and help them weather the coronavirus crisis. “Its horrendous for women right now,” said Burch. “They are taking care of children at a much higher rate than men. We have had to help many women figure out how to take out PPP loans… We had to pivot to really be a resource for women.”

 

Related Articles:
Tory Burch Names Pierre-Yves Roussel CEO
Independent Women Brought Hope to Fashion’s Virtual Spring
Visual Metaphors at Tory Burch

 
 
Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.
 
To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.
 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

David Bailey on a Life of ‘Looking Again’

David Bailey on a Life of ‘Looking Again’

November 19, 2020

The acclaimed photographer talks to Tim Blanks about his new autobiography and extraordinary career.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — David Bailey has authored dozens of books, but “Look Again” is his first autobiography. As the title suggests, the photographer is less interested in reminiscing about the past, and more keen on pushing himself and others to look beyond first impressions. 

 

The memoir delves into Bailey’s past and includes sometimes-scathing accounts of his relationships with heavyweights in the world of fashion, media, show business and politics — though he maintains he told the stories “in the nicest possible way.” 

 

“Being a photographer, you have to know how to deal with anyone, from the bloke on the [street] corner to the Queen, so you have to behave,” he said.

 

Speaking in conversation with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks, the famed photographer shares anecdotes from his storied and colourful past. 

 

  • Since he first burst onto the scene in 1960, photography has drastically changed alongside technology. “iPhones killed photography in a way, because everyone can take a picture,” he said, adding, “it’s made it into a kind of folk art,” which has its merits.  
  • As Blanks notes, Bailey lost interest in fashion photography for a while in the 1970s, a period  Bailey blames on  his dislike of some editors and the grind of the fashion cycle. It was “another frock and another frock and another girl and another girl.” It took the emergence of Kate Moss alongside ‘60s supermodel Jean Shrimpton one of Bailey’s top muses — to excite him again. “They’re both exceptional,… important people, much more important than people think.”
  • While Bailey is not one for nostalgia, he can pinpoint one photograph that defines an era — and himself as a photographer. “I’ve got one picture that I feel sums up everything: [British actor] Michael Caine with an unlit cigarette,” he said. “I feel it sums up the ‘60s for me. Not a miniskirt but a close-up of Michael Caine.”

 

Related Articles:

David Bailey Turns Editor for Citizens of Humanity

100 Years of British Vogue

Will Covid-19 Change Fashion Photography?

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.
 
To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.
 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

Tremaine Emory on Mixing Politics and Fashion

Tremaine Emory on Mixing Politics and Fashion

November 12, 2020
Imran Amed talks to the designer, also known as Denim Tears, about the US election and putting conditions on his collaboration with Converse.
 
This is just the beginning for designer Tremaine Emory. Following the US election, the designer, who is also known as Denim Tears, spoke to BoF’s Imran Amed about negotiating with big brands, leading with purpose and the work still ahead. “It’s been an incredible week and there’s a lot more work to do,” said Emory. “I hope this is the start.”
 
  • For Emory, principles come first when it comes to working with big brands, especially if they are using corporate activism in their marketing. The designer notably withheld the release of a collaboration with Converse earlier this year, posting a set of conditions for parent company Nike on Instagram that ranged from disclosing the number of Black employees in leadership roles to stopping all support for the Republican party. “I can’t put these sneakers out if all the company is doing is donating money,” said Emory. “I need to know specifically what they’re doing to combat police brutality in Black neighbourhoods… Who are we protecting with this money?” In negotiations with brands, Emory delineated the tango that comes with corporate partnerships: “Their number one thing is making money... how can I dance their bottom line with my bottom line?”
  • Reflecting on the results of the election, Emory emphasised the importance of registering young voters and getting them excited about the upcoming senate elections, particularly in his home state of Georgia. “We’re going to work to get people to vote and get Democrats in those seats,” he said.
  • Emory also hopes to introduce young consumers to new ideas and ways of thinking about American history and civil rights. “That’s probably my favourite part of my practice is being a bridge of knowledge between generations,” he said. “How can I condense... a James Baldwin book [or] a Black Panther book into a T-shirt?”
 
Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.
 
To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.
 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

The Fashion Industry Unpacks the US Election

The Fashion Industry Unpacks the US Election

November 5, 2020

The BoF team and industry experts Sharifa Murdock and Stephen Lamar discuss what the close vote means for the future of fashion.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — Election night ended in the US without a clear answer as to who will lead the country for the next four years. And though former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to have established a small lead over President Donald Trump in several key states as of Thursday afternoon, many questions remain about what will happen next. 

Sharifa Murdock, co-owner of Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs, and Stephen Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association joined BoF’s Lauren Sherman, Brian Baskin and Imran Amed to discuss what’s at stake for tariffs, trade agreements and corporate activism whatever the outcome. 

Trade policies have changed under the current administration. Trump renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement and levied tariffs on goods imported from China and some European countries. Biden may not have implemented these polices given the choice, but his administration will be cautious about retreating from Trump’s trade positions, Lamar said. “They don’t want to be seen as the new government immediately going soft on China,” he said.  Trump campaigned in 2016 on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US, but in the fashion industry at least, American factories cannot compete directly with overseas rivals on price, said Murdock of Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs. “News flash, stuff that left isn’t coming back,” said Lamar, who added that a Trump or Biden administration should focus instead on creating new kinds of apparel production jobs in the US.  Sales of luxury goods are holding up relatively well in the US as the wealthy redirect money that normally would be used on trips and hotels toward handbags and apparel. Trump’s tax cut has also played a role, giving wealthy consumers more disposable income. Biden campaigned on raising corporate taxes and reversing some of Trump’s tax policies. However, his ability to implement his vision depends on Democratic control of the Senate, which appeared unlikely as of Wednesday afternoon.  Corporate activism has flourished under the Trump presidency, as brands and retailers that previously remained neutral on political issues came under increased pressure by consumers to take a stance. The panelists predicted that activism was likely to continue, no matter who wins the election. “One thing that Trump did do was bring out… views that haven’t been looked at previously,” said Murdock. “No matter who wins [diversity and inclusion] is going to be on people’s minds.” Related Articles:
The US Election: What’s at Stake for Fashion?
American Fashion Executives on What Happens Now



Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.

 

To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

Gareth Pugh on Returning to Fashion in Extraordinary Times

Gareth Pugh on Returning to Fashion in Extraordinary Times

November 3, 2020
The British designer tells Tim Blanks about his latest creative endeavour, a documentary about creating his first collection in two years.
 
LONDON, United Kingdom — Acclaimed designer Gareth Pugh showed his last collection in September 2018. Two years on, he has returned to the industry at a time of global tumult. Its effects are clearly reflected in “The Reconstruction,” a documentary made by Pugh, his husband Carson McColl and Showstudio director Nick Knight showcasing 13 new designs and the inspiration behind them.
 
“This project really has been born out of some insane historical moments,” said Pugh. “2020’s been a shitty year and so much has gone on,” he continued, and he would be remiss “not to look it in the face and acknowledge its presence.”
 
  • No stranger to the medium, Pugh has previously released films of his designs in lieu of a fashion show, and in 2019 made a documentary with McColl about the fight for LGBTQ+ rights across the UK. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Pugh discussed what the current state of the industry means for young designers, and how he considers film to be a medium loaded with potential depth. The “new normal” can also mean opportunities. “The playing field is now level; you don’t have that established way of having to do things. like young designers being forced into this idea that ’we have to spend a load of money doing a show,’” said Pugh. “You never had to do that anyway, but now more than ever you really don’t.”
  • For many designers, film has been the go-to medium in the absence of in-person fashion shows, but it presents its own challenges. “Once you have that physical exchange taken away, you have that hole, that vacuum that you need to fill,” said Pugh. That said, alternative art forms allow for a more profound exploration of themes. “In a [fashion] show context it’s very difficult to dig down deep… simply because you’ve got this tennis match-esque way of presenting things,” he added.
  • “The Reconstruction” is a meditation on permanence, longevity and wider political significance as it pertains to creativity — from the “monumental” looks showcased in the film, to an entire section documenting the Black Lives Matter movement and activism of trans women of colour. “Wanting to build something really febrile and really temporal doesn’t sit with me,” said Pugh, admitting that he “never did very well with playing that commercial game” as a designer. “Fashion for me is part of the wider cultural conversation and does link to so many things we are part of… [It] doesn’t exist within a vacuum.”

 

Related Articles:
Gareth Pugh's Fashion Battlefield
Gareth Pugh's Macabre Movie
A Life in Extreme Style: Michèle Lamy

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.
 
To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.
 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

 

 

Dries Van Noten on Opening a Store During a Pandemic

Dries Van Noten on Opening a Store During a Pandemic

October 29, 2020
BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with the Belgian designer about his new community-centred art hub and why the clothing store could do with a makeover.
 
LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s been just over two weeks since Dries Van Noten opened his latest store in downtown Los Angeles — a 8,500-square-foot, multi-storey building intended as a hub for art, fashion, music and community. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, the Belgian designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the inspiration behind his new brick-and-mortar venture and his plans for future fashion weeks.
  • It may seem counterintuitive to debut a new store during a pandemic, when shops are open one day and forced to close the next, but Van Noten’s latest venture is an attempt to reimagine what brick and mortar can be. “Stores become very static. I wanted to have more of a youth club, where people can just come in… and do things,” he said. He recently had four local artists come in and repaint the walls in an homage to street art.
  • One of the rooms in Van Noten’s store serves as an archive of unsold garments from the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. It was inspired by the idea to slow down the fashion industry. “We have a room for men and a room for women where you have a selection of pieces from old collections.”
  • When looking to the future, Van Noten reflects on the possibility of combining fashion shows with alternative ways to present collections — like fashion films or lookbooks. “By the time we go back to fashion shows, perhaps the fashion shows will be changed,” Van Noten said. “It felt not right to see — in the times we are in — a fashion show.”

 

Related Articles:
At Dries Van Noten, New Ways of Seeing
Dries Van Noten Proposes Reset to Fashion’s Deliveries and Discounting Calendar
What Happened to Rethinking the Fashion System?

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.
 
To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.
 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

 

The Earthshot: A New Sustainability Mindset for Fashion Retail

The Earthshot: A New Sustainability Mindset for Fashion Retail

October 27, 2020

In the final episode of BoF’s new podcast series Retail Reborn, Doug Stephens explores how fashion retail must evolve so it can operate within planetary boundaries featuring guests including sustainable design authority William McDonough, founder and CEO of Jordan Alliance Group Inc, Ilka Jordan, and Sanjeev Bahl, founder of sustainable denim manufacturer Saitex.

 

Subscribe now to never miss an episode.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

Paul Smith on the Past 50 Years

Paul Smith on the Past 50 Years

October 22, 2020
The designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about how the current moment is shaping the future of creativity.
 
LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s been 50 years since Paul Smith opened his first shop in Nottingham. Now, he has 200 shops worldwide. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, the celebrated designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the last five decades, his latest book and how the current moment is prompting a return to craft.
  • Reflecting on the past 50 years, Smith emphasises the importance of making the most of any luck or opportunity by working at it. “For a lot of people opportunities come their way but they don’t embrace them,” he said.
  • To celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, Smith has released a book. In it, he tells the story of the last 50 years through 50 objects. “Instead of it just being a coffee table book with pictures of clothes in it, [I wanted it to] be a little bit lateral,” said Smith. “I very quickly chose 50 things — and I say ‘very quickly’ because I wanted it to be spontaneous.” Each object signifies a particular time or a memory that has shaped Smith's life and brought him to where he is today.
  • Despite the challenges 2020 has presented, the designer says he is excited about the industry’s return to craft. “What’s been inspiring for me is the construction,” said Smith. “Instead of the inspiration coming from a Matisse or a Basquiat, going back to how we make things has been really wonderful.”
Related Articles:
 
Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.
 
To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.
 

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

Imran Amed and Tim Blanks on a Most Unusual Fashion Month

Imran Amed and Tim Blanks on a Most Unusual Fashion Month

October 15, 2020

Amed and Blanks reflect on this season’s collections, the shift to digital and the limitless potential power of creative collaboration.

 

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — This last fashion month has been unlike any other. After much of the year working under lockdowns, brands largely shifted to digital channels to showcase their newest collections. In the latest episode of the BoF podcast, BoF Founder and CEO Imran Amed and BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks reflect on the season's most compelling moments and lasting impact.

  • Virtual presentations haven’t always landed, but this season felt different, said Blanks. “There was so much thought and creativity and ingenuity applied to new ways of doing business and new ways [of showing work]... It was a very different ball game.”
  • In London, Blanks was struck by female designers like Bianca Saunders, Ahluwalia and Supriya Lele who “did these super strong presentations that were provocative and affirmative and positive,” he said. Overall, London Fashion Week was defined by a joyful defiance during a time of crisis. In Milan and Paris, Blanks and Amed referenced Prada and Rick Owens as two of many shows that stood out to them.
  • This season also made clear the power of strong partnerships. Through creative collaborations between designers and filmmakers, brands have managed to bring their collections to life to audiences the world over. “It changes the fundamental conception of fashion being about the designer, now we have a much more collaborative thing happening,” said Blanks. “That’s a shift, I think.”

Related Articles:

How Impactful Were the Digital Fashion Week Shows, Really?

Who Will Win the Digital Fashion Week Battle?

How to Make Digital Fashion Weeks Work

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

 

Kenneth Cole on Why Mental Health is the Other Big Pandemic

Kenneth Cole on Why Mental Health is the Other Big Pandemic

October 8, 2020

The American designer talks about his efforts to destigmatize mental health issues and the importance of improving emotional wellbeing in the fashion industry. 

LONDON, United Kingdom — “[There] needs to be a cultural shift… a new narrative, a new vocabulary, a new way to talk about mental health that [isn’t] debilitating, but is in fact empowering,” designer and social activist Kenneth Cole told BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed. 

Cole recently brought together leading US mental health organisations and high-profile advocates and media platforms to launch the Mental Health Coalition, an organisation that seeks to destigmatize the topic. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, he discussed how the issue pervades the fashion industry and efforts to address it. 

 

  • “The fashion industry is a perception industry, and how we are perceived often is how we see ourselves,” Cole said, warning of the dangers to mental health when designers become preoccupied with reviews, likes on a post or comments from editors. “We define ourselves so often by these external forces that we can’t control and to a degree if you allow them to take hold then you become a victim of that. I often say, ‘fashion is what I do, it's not who I am.’”
  • The pressures on designers have become even more intense with the rise of social media. That’s more true than ever in an era where the pandemic has at times made digital the only available avenue of communication. Constantly being exposed to the feedback and opinions of others can feel debilitating Cole said.  “Unfortunately our industry embraces it and rewards it… and the more likes you have and the bigger audience you have, the more access you will often have.” 
  • What’s next is changing the way people speak about mental health so it there’s less stigma attached to it. The best way to do that “be supportive and non-judgemental and listen,” Cole said. “We all have different degrees and we have ups and we have downs. And we have periods where we’re feeling more in control than other [times]... [but] having a conversation is a big first step.” 

 

Related Articles:

Inside Fashion’s Enduring Mental Health Epidemic

Stressed and Depressed: A Mental Health Guide for Fashion Students

Op-Ed | The Perils of Fashion's 'Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It' Culture

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

Play this podcast on Podbean App